The Human Cost: Death Prolonged
Most elderly people suffer needlessly at the end of their lives because education about end-of-life care is sorely lacking. Today’s high-tech medical care can sustain life, but fails to restore quality of life for many. The result: death prolonged.
The Social Cost: Futile care funded, preventive care neglected
The other critical issue is the astronomical cost of end-of-life care. We spend about thirty percent of Medicare resources on the last year of life and about fifty percent of that in the last two months. In 2009 that was $70 billion spent on the last two months of life. Tragically, in most cases, that expense is worse than waste. That type of care prolongs suffering and provides little hope for quality life.
On the other hand, people delay or decline basic health care because they have inadequate financial means and many preventable conditions go unchecked.
Most people have grave misconceptions about resuscitation…
Letting Go by Atul Gwande. New Yorker, August 2, 2010
What Broke My Father’s Heart by Katy Butler, New York Times Magazine, June 14, 2010
End-of-life Decisions Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly PBS